Nick Brown was elected MP for Newcastle upon Tyne East in May 2010 with a majority of 4,453 votes.
When Mike Thomas, the sitting Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne East, defected to the SDP, Brown was chosen as the new Labour Party candidate for the seat, easily keeping it for Labour in the 1983 general election. He went on to the Labour front bench in 1985 as a spokesman on Legal Affairs; from 1988 he was a Treasury spokesman and from 1994 he shadowed Health.
Originally elected the Commons in the same year as Gordon Brown and Tony Blair he was initially close to both men but over time he became his namesake Brown's staunchest ally, though the two are unrelated. In the 1994 Labour leadership election he acted as Brown's unofficial campaign manager, and according to Brown's biographer Paul Routledge, advised against him pulling out of the contest in Blair's favour.
In 1995 he was appointed Deputy Chief Whip and played a central role in the close Parliament in trying to defeat the Conservatives. After Labour's election victory in 1997, he was appointed Chief Whip, but stayed there only for a year, moving to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1998. This move, which followed the publication of the Routledge biography earlier that year, was widely seen as a demotion, and ascribed to his close connection with Brown. Not long after this, he was forced by the News of the World newspaper in 1998 to announce that he is gay. This he did with characteristic good humour, telling an audience of farmers: "It's a lovely day. The sun is out - and so am I."
His tenure at MAFF saw several animal health crises ending with the 2001 foot and mouth crisis. Brown's handling of the outbreak, which some in the media and politics used to attack the government, was criticised, though throughout he maintained the support of the farming and food industries and the veterinary profession. Suggestions that a vaccination strategy should have been practised in preference to the culling of hundreds of thousands of animals, made with the benefit of hindsight, did not help his cause, and he was demoted out of the Cabinet to be Minister of Work at the Department of Work and Pensions after the general election of 2001. In June 2003, he was dropped from the Government altogether, receiving the news of his axing by Tony Blair during the course of a party held to mark his 20 years as an MP.
Brown remains closely allied to Gordon Brown. In 2004 he was one of the organisers of a rebellion over the government's proposals for student finance, but hours before the vote announced that he had received concessions from the Government and would now support it. It was suspected that the Chancellor had ordered him to back down, but the affair cost him some credibility. On 29 June 2007 he was announced as Brown's new Deputy Chief Whip and Minister for the North East.
Following a government reshuffle, he was returned to his original government position of Government Chief Whip, retaining his position as Minister for the North East.
Nick Brown is a distinguished supporter of the British Humanist Association.
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Date of Birth
13 June 1950
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